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September 16, 1972 - Image 2

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1972-09-16

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Page Two.

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

i

Saturday, September 16, 1972

music

Indian
By TONY CECERE
Ravi Shankar sat in the corner,
his eyes turning to meet me as
I entered the room. Nearby were
Alla Rakha and Nadu Mullick,
as well as many assorted West-
erners who served as a buffer
zone. against the hordes of phili-
stines gathered in the auditorium.
Like musicians of all cultures, of
all times, Ravi was practicing
scales.
"Okay man, you can ask one
question and THAT'S IT!" Thus
spoke the manager. I spoke auto-
matically: "Is it possible that
Indian music and Western music
will eventually reach a meeting,
a synthesis? I know that you
have written a Concerto for Sitar
and Orchestra and have perform-
ed with Violinist ..."
He stopped his scales. "You
have heard my Sitar Concerto?"
"Yes . . .,"I said, and he put
down his Sitar.
"You know that this synthesis

rhythms
with the music. It is like making
love, an illusion often provoked
by Shankar's playing. Respon-
siveness is a highly praised qual-
ity among all musicians, and the
rapport that arose from that
stage was like the incense that
floated out in an aromatic
quilt; it grew and never ceased
to touch the listener.
One of the highlights of the
evening was a Tabla , solo by
Alla Rakha that was almost be-
yond comprehension. Shankar
and Rakha gave a somewhat
amusing demonstration of one
type of Tabla improvisation.
Shankar would say a syllable
(presumably a Hindu Syllable)
and Rakha would recreate the
sound on his Tabla. This seemed
simple enough, but when the
syllabic sequences went on for
several minutes or longer, the
repetition and recreation of the
pattern evolved into a superhu-
man accomplishment.

Daily Photo by DAVE MARGOLICK
Ravi Shankar

I,

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.41

you speak of is happening all
the time. Different people are
experimenting with it and I am
all in favor of this. However,
each system is beautiful by itself
and should never be forced onto
the other."
The concert that Ravi Shankar
gave last night was probably one
of his best, if his art may be
considered in such a fashion. As
he explained, this was a mem-
orial to "Baba" (Ustad or Maes-
tro Allaudin Khan), his music
guru. In the program, Shankar
was thus quoted on the subject:
"For us, guru is sometimes even
greater than God. He is the
teacher through whom all knowl-
edge is passed on."
With Alla Rakha at his Tabla
and Nadu Mullick at the sup-
porting drone - like Tamboura,
Ravi touched, caressed, cajoled
the Sitar until the music began
generating itself. After careful
tuning, the evening raga began to
draw the audience in. Slowly,
subtlely at first, with one melodic
line from the Sitar that never
ended, the entire outside world
was put aside for more impor-
tant considerations.
The raga as a form allows this
to happen, beginning slowly
(ALAP) and intensifying in tem-
po until the rhythm (Tabla) pre-
dominates (known as the JOR).
The entire piece crescendoes in-
to the final movement, the
JHALA, while the Sitar impro-
vises on a; set of pitches that
remain constant throughout the
composition (the GAT).
Still, this is the means, not the
end. The end is to draw you in,
gently at first, until you are one

As might be expected, Hill was
filled to capacity. It was encour-
aging to note that there was an
interesting cross-section of the
community present,, from your
average freak to the erudite In-
dians in suits and Saris, to the
professors with their pipes and
the "almost beautiful" people.
Shankar played four ragas in
addition to the Tabla solo. The
first was an Evening raga in 12
beats, followed by a somewhat
similar piece in Kirwani (fast,
slow, medium) set in a 16-beat
pattern (Tintal).
It is impossible for a Western-
er to give a true critical evalu-
ation of an experience like this,
for the influence is still a fresh
graft into our culture. Yet the
experience that is Ravi Shankar's
music transcends all cultures.
Correction
CELEBRATION,- contrary to infor-
mation which appeared in yester-
day's Weekend Whirlwind, will be
held in Hill Aud.
- *

'A

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--------

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